Some are thrilled, some not so, but the celebration of the United States’ military might and those who serve returns this year and starts officially with the Blue Angels‘ 3 p.m. arrival and practice on Thursday (Oct. 9). Pier 39 starts the action early from 1–2 p.m. with 32nd Street Brass Band from the Navy Band Southwest performing a mix of jazz, funk, Dixieland, and R&B.
On Friday (Oct. 10) look for an 8 a.m. softball tournament at Moscone Field, then head over to Pier 39 and listen to the United States Marine Corp Band at 11 a.m. as the Parade of Ships begins. The Blue Angels practice from 3–4 p.m. followed by the Destroyers from the Navy Band Southwest performing current and classic vocal favorites at Pier 39.
Two afternoon air shows of flying fun start at 12:30 Saturday and Sunday (Oct. 11–12) capped by the Blue Angels from 3–4 p.m. Several concerts are planned each day at Pier 39, culminating with fireworks off the pier at 8:30 p.m. Saturday (Oct. 11). Ship tours are also scheduled on the weekend as well as a parade (Oct. 12). Closing the week on Monday (Oct. 13) are more ship tours and music (415-306-0911, fleetweek.us; pier39.com).
There’s no shortage of haunting Halloween events throughout month, from classic balls to a pub crawl. Here are a few for the 21 and over crowd, all on Halloween (Oct. 31) night.
Hotel happenings include the Cosplay Halloween Ball at the Hotel Kabuki (1625 Post Street), which invites you to dress up as your favorite (or least favorite) anime, video game, comics, or science fiction character for a cash prize costume contest (cosplaysf.com); and the Annual Spooky Hotel at the W Hotel San Francisco (181 Third Street) is dubbed a “sinister chic Halloween happening,” and features S.F.’s hottest D.J.s spinning Top 40, Hip Hop, EDM, and more (eventbrite.com).
For the sixth year, A Nightmare on Van Ness takes over three levels of The Regency Center (1300 Van Ness Avenue) and bills itself as the freakiest, largest and most “extravagant and entertaining” Halloween event in the city, promising to sell out. Grab your cocktail from an all-you-can-drink hosted bar and dance to tunes spun by 10 D.J.s playing Top 40, Electro and Hip Hop. If that doesn’t appeal, maybe the go-go dancers will (323-999-9999, sanfranciscohalloween.com).
Take your revelry to the bay aboard the Fume Blanc Commodore (Pier 40) for a four-hour Titanic Masquerade Halloween Party Cruise, where the party spans three decks with an open bar, light snacks, and music from two D.J.s, but you must be in costume and a mask (415-573-0740, sfnightlife.com).
If you’d rather just bar hop, then the World Famous Halloween Pub Crawl is for you. Meet at 1980 Union Street in your coolest costume for drink specials and details on the participating venues, which include dozens of the city’s most popular drinking establishments (323-604-6030, pubcrawls.com).
For the performance-preferring crowd, Bats Improv (Building B, Fort Mason Center) has a month of horror in store starting with Improvised Twilight Zone (Oct. 3–24), followed by Improvised Zombie Horror (Oct. 4–25), and Improvised Horror Musical (Oct. 31 and Nov. 1) to wrap up the series (415-474-6776, improv.org); and for possibly the most unique Halloween celebration, head over to Davies Symphony Hall (201 Van Ness Avenue) to catch John Barrymore in the 1920 silent thriller Dr. Jekyll and Mr. Hyde (Oct. 31) accompanied by live organ music (415-864-6000, sfsymphony.org).
A Bay Area all-ages favorite, the 44th Annual Half Moon Bay Art & Pumpkin Festival (Oct. 18–19) is worth the drive to enjoy all things pumpkin: pie, treats, a parade, and carvers; plus music, crafts, and more (650-726-3491, www.miramarevents.com).
Have fun and raise funds in Sausalito at the Goblin Jamboree (Oct. 18–19) at the Bay Area Discovery Museum (557 McReynolds Road), which supports the museum’s mission to ignite and advance creative thinking in children (415-339-3900, www.baykidsmuseum.org); the California Academy of Sciences’ (55 Music Concourse Drive) Supernatural Halloween Party (Oct. 24) supports their educational outreach activities (415-379-8000, calacademy.org); and the Howlin’ Moon 5K and Fun Run (Oct. 26) on the Little Marina Green supports public education at the Claire Lilienthal Alternative School (415-749-3516, clairelilienthal.org).
For traditional family fun, head across town to Yerba Buena Gardens (750 Howard Street) for the 14th Annual Halloween Hoopla (Oct. 26) for music, crafts, and costume parade (415-543-1718, www.ybgfestival.org); and the neighborhood Tiny Tot Halloween Parade (Oct. 31) starts in Moscone Park (1800 Chestnut Street) with crafts and activities before heading down Chestnut Street for trick or treating (415-831-2700, www.sfrecpark.org).